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A Nike Simulation "Game" - IFC Area

and explanation of radar displays and plotting board displays in the IFC area
by Ed Thelen

We are assuming this siren has called the on-duty IFC personnel "to arms".
The Launcher Area has a similar siren.
In both the Battery Control Van and the Radar Control Vans, the site status is prominently displayed - this image portrays "RED" status. A missile cannot be fired from the BC van unless the status is "RED".

Table of Contents
      - Target Assignment - currently out of tracking range
      - Tracking the target
      - We have been tracking the target for 30 seconds
      - Launch Simulation in the Battery Control Van
      - Launch plus 3 seconds
      - Launch plus 33 seconds
      - Launch plus 96 seconds - BURST
      - Obtaining and Running the Simulation Program

Target Assignment - currently out of tracking range

This is the PPI (Plan Position Indicator) radar display before tracking an aircraft.
     This is in the Battery Control Van for the Battery Control Officer (and Acquisition Operator) The Nike site is in the center.
    The white degree marks ( 0 = north) are on the bezel surrounding the scope.
    Note the fast moving incoming aircraft, at about 250 degrees. There is no IFF arc behind it from a challenge
    Head Quarters has assigned this target for us to attack.
    We designate this aircraft to the Target Tracking Radar to track when it gets into range.

Tracking the target

This is the PPI showing tracking our assigned aircraft.
     The Nike site is in the center.
    The target has the Target Tracking Radar cross on the target. Target information is going into the computer.
     Note that the IFF indications have faded from the long persistence scope.
This is what the Target Tracking radar operators (in the Radar Control van) see while tracking that aircraft at maximum range.
     Zero distance (with the big magnetron pulse) is at the left
    The target aircraft is in the expanded tracking "notch" to the right.
    The "grass" is due to lots of noise due to weak signal at maximum range.
    The white printing is simulated values on the operator dials. (no white printing on the radar scope ;-))
This is what the Missile Tracking radar operator (also in the Radar Control van) sees. The Missile Tracking radar is locked on the selected missile in the Launching Area.
     Zero distance (with the big magnetron pulse) is at the left
    The missile echo is in the expanded tracking "notch" near the left.
    Note: No "grass". A 400 watt magnetron in the missile gives LOTS of signal.
    Again, The white printing is simulated values on the operator dials. (no white printing on the radar scope ;-))
This is the Horizontal Plotting board in the Battery Control van.
     The Nike site is in the center.
    The Target Tracking Radar has been supplying tracking data to computer.
    One pen (little white triangle in the simulation) tracks the target (red ink in the simulation). Every 10 seconds a horizontal and vertical jiggle show timing. Tracking has just started on this target, no 10 second marks.
    The other pen tracks the Predicted_Intercept_Point (shown in yellow ink)
    In real life, all the ink is green, and lamps tell which pen is tracking what.
This is the Vertical Plotting Board while tracking an aircraft.
     Time Zero (Intercept) is in the center.
    The Left Board always plots Target Altitude vs Time to Intercept. The target's altitude is a bout 15,000 feet. Predicted Time to Intercept (if we fire right now) is about 105 seconds.
     The Right Board (before launch) plots the Predicted Intercept altitude vs Time to Intercept
    The Nike system cannot hit targets under the black arc, the "dead zone".

We have been tracking the target for 30 seconds

The radar displays look quite similar to the above
so we will point out differences of computer generated information.
This is the Horizontal Plotting board in the Battery Control van.
     The Nike site is in the center.
    The Target Tracking Radar has been supplying tracking data to computer.
    One pen (red ink in the simulation) tracks the target. Every 10 seconds a horizontal and vertical jiggle show timing. Three jiggles on each track shows three 10 second timing marks.
    The other pen tracks the Predicted Intercept Point (shown in yellow ink)
    In real life, all the ink is green, and lamps tell which pen is tracking what.
This is the Vertical Plotting Board while tracking an aircraft.
     Time Zero (Intercept) is in the center.
    The Left Board always plots Target Altitude vs Time to Intercept. The target's altitude is a bout 15,000 feet. Predicted Time to Intercept (if we fire right now) is about 105 seconds.
     The Right Board (before launch) plots the Predicted Intercept altitude vs Time to Intercept
     10 second timing marks are used on this plotting board also.
This is a simulation of data available to the Battery Control Officer now (after 30 seconds of tracking). Actually the data is available immediately after Target Tracked and Computer Settled (about 3 seconds after Target Tracked)
     The missile has a gyroscope to indicate which way is down.This must be set to the Predicted Intercept Point before launch.

Launch Simulation - in the Battery Control Van

This simulated button is actually a switch covered by a red plastic shield to eliminate any accidental operation.
    Any nuclear warhead protective systems and mechanisms are in the Launcher Area.

Launch plus 3 seconds

As a refresher, we will see all of the displays again
and observe differences.
This is the PPI showing tracking our assigned aircraft.
     The Nike site is in the center.
    The target has the Target Tracking Radar cross on the target. Target information is going into the computer.
     Note that the IFF indications have faded from the long persistence scope.
This is what the Target Tracking radar operators (in the Radar Control van) see while tracking that aircraft at maximum range.
     Zero distance (with the big magnetron pulse) is at the left
    The target aircraft is in the expanded tracking "notch" to the right.
    The "grass" is due to lots of noise due to weak signal at maximum range.
    The white printing is simulated values on the operator dials. (no white printing on the radar scope ;-))
  The missile display is about the same as prelaunch
This is the Horizontal Plotting board in the Battery Control van.
     The Nike site is in the center.
    The Target Tracking Radar has been supplying tracking data to computer.
    One pen (red ink in the simulation) tracks the target. Every 10 seconds a horizontal and vertical jiggle show timing.
    The other pen now tracks the missile (at the center) with green "ink"
    In real life, all the ink is green, and lamps tell which pen is tracking what.
This is the Vertical Plotting Board just after launching a missile.
     Time Zero (Intercept) is in the center.
    The Left Board always plots Target Altitude vs Time to Intercept. The target's altitude is a bout 15,000 feet. Predicted Time to Intercept is about 90 seconds.
     The Right Board (after launch) plots the missile altitude vs Time to Intercept
This is a simulation of data available to the Battery Control Officer now.
    Note that the missile status is "Away", and is being boosted

Launch plus 33 seconds

As a refresher, we will see all of the displays again
and observe differences.
This is the PPI showing tracking our assigned aircraft.
     The Nike site is in the center.
    The target has the Target Tracking Radar cross on the target. Target information is going into the computer.
     Note that the IFF indications have faded from the long persistence scope.
This is what the Target Tracking radar operators (in the Radar Control van) see while tracking that aircraft at maximum range.
     Zero distance (with the big magnetron pulse) is at the left
    The target aircraft is in the expanded tracking "notch" to the right.
    The "grass" (noise) is decreasing due to decreasing range.
    The white printing is simulated values on the operator dials. (no white printing on the radar scope ;-))
This is what the Missile Tracking radar operator (in the Radar Control van) sees while tracking that aircraft at maximum range.
     Zero distance (with the big magnetron pulse) is at the left
    The missile is down range, at an elevation angle of 23.2 degrees
    The white printing is simulated values on the operator dials. (no white printing on the radar scope ;-))
This is the Horizontal Plotting board in the Battery Control van.
     The Nike site is in the center.
    The Target Tracking Radar has been supplying tracking data to computer.
    One pen (red ink in the simulation) tracks the target. Every 10 seconds a horizontal and vertical jiggle show timing. Tracking has just started on this target, no 10 second marks.
    The other pen now tracks the missile (at the center) with green "ink"
    In real life, the ink is green, and lamps tell which pen is tracking what.
This is the Vertical Plotting Board 30 seconds after the missile launch.
     Time Zero (Intercept) is in the center.
    The Left Board always plots Target Altitude vs Time to Intercept. The target's altitude is a bout 15,000 feet. Predicted Time to Intercept (if we fire right now) is about 60 seconds.
     The Right Board (after launch) plots the missile altitude vs Time to Intercept
This is a simulation of data available to the Battery Control Officer now.
    Note that the missile guidance/status is now in the 1/2 g cruise mode. 1/2 g is a good compromise between good missile range and quick time to target.

Launch plus 96 seconds - BURST

As a refresher, we will see the displays again
and observe differences.
This is the PPI showing tracking our assigned aircraft.
     The Nike site is in the center.
    The target has the Target Tracking Radar cross on the target. Target information is going into the computer.
     Note that the aircraft is much closer to "us".
This is what the Target Tracking radar operators (in the Radar Control van) see at this time.
     Zero distance (with the big magnetron pulse) is at the left
    The target aircraft is in the expanded tracking "notch" to the right.
    The "grass" (noise) is much reduced due to the decreased range.
    The white printing is simulated values on the operator dials. (no white printing on the radar scope ;-))
This is the Horizontal Plotting board in the Battery Control van.
     The Nike site is in the center.
    The Target Tracking Radar has been supplying tracking data to computer.
    One pen (red ink in the simulation) tracks the target. Every 10 seconds a horizontal and vertical jiggle show timing.
    The other pen now tracks the missile (at the center) with green "ink". The target and the missile are now at the same point in space.
    In real life, the ink is green, and lamps tell which pen is tracking what.
This is the Vertical Plotting Board while tracking an aircraft.
     Time Zero (Intercept) is in the center.
    The Left Board always plots Target Altitude vs Time to Intercept. The target's altitude is a bout 15,000 feet. Predicted Time to Intercept is 0, the Burst Command was given about 105 milliseconds ago.
     The Right Board (after launch) plots the missile altitude vs Time to Intercept
This is a simulation of data available to the Battery Control Officer now.
    Note that the missile status is "BURST". The distances are estimates, and depend heavily on correct system orientation adjustments and missile response to commands.

Obtaining and Running the Simulation

July 12, 2009 - release date. This version uses the mouse instead of controls in the BC Van in year 1998 version
March, 2011 - If you run Windows 7, the simulation requires a monitor of at least 1200 pixels vertical
- a 1600x1200 is just fine.
I have programmed a simulation of some of the sights and controls of the IFC (Integrated Fire Control) area of a Nike Hercules site in action against simulated targets, with some friendly aircraft (with IFF) flying about.
Jan Mølgaard e-mails
Hi Ed.
I just want to thank you for the ‘nice simulator’, you made.
I was a TTR/MTR operator in RDAF (Royal Danish Air Force) SQN 533 about 1980, and yes the simulator brings back a lot of memories.
SQN 533, was in the ‘front line’ of the cold war, only 75 Km from East Germany air space, so we often maintained a high state of readiness.
Once in a while I think back, and wonder how lucky we were, the cold war could [ have on ] a number of occasions have been really really hot.

  • The date code is 20090704.
  • An introduction is to run the game in "AUTO" mode, selectable on the top row.
  • It runs well on Windows XP.
  • For Windows XP, the simulation needs the monitor to be set to 1280x1024 or more.
    If you run Windows 7, the simulation requires a monitor of at least 1200 pixels vertical - a 1600x1200 is just fine.
  • It uses a mouse for all controls, designating targets, IFF on and off, FIRE, etc.
    but if you don't have your monitor settings large enough,
    and can't find the "EXIT" button, depress "q" or "Esc" on your keyboard to exit.
  • It has never crashed, and is guaranteed to be virus free (the FreeBasic source code is here).
  • The following assumes you know how to operate "Windows Explorer",
    a Microsoft preinstalled utility to let you examine/change your files.
    Maybe your kid or grand kid can help you :-|
  • The runnable code is in a file I call NikeSim090704 dot exe .
    - if you wish a copy of the executable, e-mail me at ed@ed-thelen.org
    -- some search programs now try to protect you by flagging sites offering .exe files
    - You can "save" the .exe file to some directory (folder)
    -- and click on it when you want to run the program.
    - Clicking "Exit", or typing "q", terminates the program
  • Some browsers are reluctant to download .exe files, here is a .zip file, unpackable with PKZip or WinZip or many browsers.
The above is a little crude, I don't know how to "install" and "remove" an application, nor install and link an icon.


PLEASE NOTE: The PC MOUSE is used to
- change various modes
- designate a target
- operate the IFF and FIRE buttons

  • A person familiar with NIKE Battery Control Van is likely to understand operation of the controls, and meaning of the displays after briefly brushing the cob webs out of their brains. :-))
  • A person familiar with the Target Tracking console has some idea of the tracking cross on the PPI display, and can soon fake operations. :-))
  • Others will have to experiment a little more.
  • I'm not sure I will ever make a proper operations manual, like who reads the Instruction Manual anyway?

An easy way to get familiar with what to expect is to click on "Auto" on the top line.

This causes the system to select the non IFF responding target with the closest Predicted Intercept Point, and FIRE, repeatedly.

Red shows the selected mode
"Normal" means manual, you, the Battery Control Officer, must use the mouse to
  1. challenge with IFF, (click on it) (targets with an arc behind it is a friend)
  2. designate targets (by clicking on them),
  3. observe that the TTR operators in the RC van can track the target
  4. observe that the Time_to_Intercept is not greater than 150 seconds (max missile range)
  5. operate the FIRE switch (click on it)
"Auto8" means that the program in your PC will do all the functions of the Battery Control Officer (above) - none of the buttons are active.
"Pause" stops everything until you click on Pause again
"Exit" terminates the program -
"Text" shows some hints
"0.0 g" - the aircraft flies straight and level
"0.2 g" - the target aircraft dodges up/down left/right at 0.2 g's
"1.0 g" - the target aircraft dodges up/down left/right at 1.0 g's

For questions or comments, e-mail ed@ed-thelen.org